by Aaron Mehl, M.Ed, CSCS
The United States Army is fortunate to have some of the finest patriots serving in it that this country has to offer.
Modern soldiers are highly motivated, intelligent, technologically saavy, and getting smarter about their physical training every day.
Not much negative can be said, but there is always room for improvement when it comes to the physical training of tactical athletes. My current mission as a Army Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) is to educate as many soldiers as possible that:
MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER
The Army has a long standing mentality that the more of something that can be performed, the better.
In a recent article written by legendary strength coach Buddy Morris (Cleveland Browns, University of Pittsburgh, 30+ years in the field), coach Morris states, perhaps better than anyone, that a person should;
“train as much as necessary in order for improvement, which is the intent in the first place. You never see an injury from undertraining but you see careers shortened from overtraining. You can solve undertraining and NO not by necessarily increasing training. Thats everyone’s first go to, ” they gotta train more and harder”…. Over time its the volume of work that gets you.”
This could not hold truer for soldiers.
Not many pro athletes are fortunate enough to spend anywhere near 20 years in their respective sports. Even if you include their years of playing in high school and before, they are lucky to see a decade.
A soldier is expected to be combat ready and fit to fight for almost 20 years of their life.
This is where overtraining and optimal programming become much more important for the longevity of tactical athletes compared to civilian athletes.
Coach Morris also goes on to say, “Don’t judge the training session on if they are sore or they are puking, this should not be considered a good training/ workout session. This is called ” maladaptation” to training or given a stimulus they were not ready for . It doesn’t take a genius to train someone to near death, it takes a thought process to enhance performance.”
Individualization of training is impossible due to the large number of soldiers at a given PT session, and a plethora of different ability groups in each company.
As it was stated above, it is much better to tailor the training so the less fit soldiers can adapt and improve without being injured.
It would be great if everyone could keep up with the top 10% of the PT studs, but again, better to undertrain the top 10% and have no injuries than overtrain the bottom 90% and make Uncle Sam “buy” broken 19 year old soldiers for life!
I'm not trying to bring awareness to any deficiencies in Army training, but to help spread the word that OPTIMAL training does not mean OVER training - More is not always better.
Are you undertraining or overtraining? Let us know what you think!
Special thanks to Buddy Morris, www.nyscenter.com and every service member out there!
We appreciate all of your sacrifices.
written by aaron mehl
Aaron Mehl is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He currently works as a strength and conditioning specialist for the United States Army at Fort Lee, VA. Aaron has previous experience coaching athletes from elementary school to professional and everyone in between. Aaron has worked as a strength and conditioning coach for Virginia Commonwealth University, Liberty University Football, Longwood University, The Detroit Tigers Baseball Organization, and the New Mexico Prep Sports Academy.
Aaron can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Walking in to a gym for most folks is like walking in to the Apple store for me.
I recently had to get an issue fixed on my five year old Macbook - I know, it's a dinosaur. I walk in, and this kid in a beanie cap leaning on a table effortlessly uses his iPad to check me in for my appointment. He then tells me to wait over by a big desk in the back of the store for my appointment.
Chaos is happening everywhere with young people in blue t-shirts questioning users about what problems, which to them are common sense, they are having with their Apple item.
I see the desk and b-line over to the it's most distant corner. I'm now contemplating whether or not to take off my sweater. Is it because its actually hot in here? Or because I'm losing it from feeling uncomfortable and out of my element?
I'm being passed around from one professional to the next. Then, I finally speak to the person who is going to fix my problem.
He's talking in computer jargon which I completely don't understand. I just shake my head and agree knowingly. All along I'm thinking about how much money this is going to cost me. Even the "feller" with a woodland camo hat appears to be more iSavvy than me.
I know nothing of computers. This is pretty embarrassing since they practically run our world. However, for this reason, I can relate to somebody that is tiptoeing into the gym for their very first time; Into the jungle of equipment and "torture machine" looking devices. MUAHHAHAHAHAHA!!
Walking through those big double doors that typically display a HULK as the logo, who's muscles have their own muscles... It can be very intimidating stepping into a gym for the first time. People drenching sweat over everything in the cardio deck, the basketball court, and the weight room... Oh man, the weight room.
GIVE ME ONE MORE!!!
Most women won't even travel over to the "free weight area." Let's just say Meatheads are not the most inconspicuous of gawkers. On the flip side, one of the worst places for a dude, that's new to lifting, is in front of the dumbbell rack. I remember having to pick up 15s for bicep curls while the monster next to me is repping the 50s!
Nevertheless, I kept going. I kept showing up and doing my routine. Because I knew what would happen if I didn't... NOTHING!
You just have to get past all of the stereotypical gym bullshit and realize this is YOUR workout; YOUR body; YOUR life; No One Else's. Only you know what YOU are capable of, and what eternally evolving and improving goal you are charging for with all engines ahead full.
Get in there, get your workout on, and GET THE HELL OUT!
If you have any questions feel free to email email@example.com
your awesome, so tell someone.
Feel free to leave a comment or share this post with a friend.
I want to thank everyone for their support.
The Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift is one of the best exercises in the whole wild, wild world.
Not only is it a great exercise for the hamstrings and glutes, the lower back gets a good deal of stimulus as well. By using one leg instead of two your getting the same stimulus with half the weight. Thus, saving your spine from excessive loading and compression.
By going to one leg from two you are also throwing off your balance. When you challenge balance more muscles are then engaged for the exercise.
As you can see, I don't have to do much weight for it to be challenging.
The key to balance is Strength. In order to get the most out of this exercise you must perform the reps slowly. This allows you to maintain your balance and strengthen your entire body.
Try it out and let me know what you think!
Brian is annoyingly optimistic, madly in love with his wife, Valerie, unapologetically opinionated about veterans, religion and politics, tenaciously entrepreneurial, and interested in everything.